Sew and sew.

I was on FB chat till late last night with a very good friend of mine, she’s younger and cooler than me by miles and yet what were we chatting about?

Our sewing machines.

I am no hot shot with sewing but I do enjoy it. The golden haired child loves it too but is only hand sewing at the moment till we get a machine that she can operate and that doesn’t have ‘tension issues’ It is I who is tense as I write those two words, I wish my sewing machine would stop creating insane looped tangled horrors half way along a piece of fabric. I seem to break all machines in this way periodically.

I actually have two sewing machines an electric one and a hand cranked one (I’m not counting the first borns cheapy one she got one christmas because…. well I proper broke it).

The electric is a Singer. I think we inherited it from the guy in the shop next door to the man of the yurts work place. She needed a service and her tension looked at (sigh) and then worked beautifully for ages. The man in the sewing machine shop really liked her.

The old girl

The old girl


Apparently her all metal construction not only makes her weigh a ton it means she can sew just about anything including leather and denim seams apparently. She got that funny lift up bit as you can see in the second pic, the manual I downloaded explains these are for the ‘fashion disc/cams’ which allow you to do decorative stitching. I like her for her no nonsense look and the fact she is super tough.

Now my other machine is probably my favorite. She is a Jones ‘Family D53’ She’s not adorned with fancy gold decals like many hand machines but again, I love her for her honest no nonsense appearance. She is old and bashed and worn and yet I still think she is lovely in her own special way.

She has the weird long bobbin and shuttle inside it is like a fancy bullet.

Long bobbin and shuttle

Long bobbin and shuttle

Because no shop bought pre loaded bobbins fit her I have to load the bobbin with thread each time I want a new colour (or run out of the existing one). I don’t mind it too much, its fun cranking the handle and watching the little mechanisms carefully fill the bobbin up, gently swaying back and forth to spread the thread evenly. Using the machine is something I really LOVE, when you get up some speed on long straight hems or similar she’s like a little steam engine going (obviously without any steam other than mine!) Sometimes I almost expect her to start chuffing and a whistle to blow. This is me and Mrs Jones I am making a tudor costume for the first born some years back.

I think she was made in the 1930’s and is very simple looking compared to other Jones machines. I am guessing she was aimed at a lower end of the market. What I love about that is the idea of unknown women before me sat at that machine making clothes and house fabrics possibly a lot of wartime ‘make do and mend’. I know its probably slightly crazy but I get this sense of history from it. I wonder how many women have sat in front of it and cranked it handle? What did they make? Who were they? What kind of lives did they have? Was my old Jones once pride of place in someone’s home? So many questions I will never know the answer to, I like thinking of the possibilities though. Working the handle is a kind of meditation for me, the constant repeating sounds of the inner workings as the bobbin flies back and forth, the cotton spool turning as the take up lever bobs up and down drawing in new thread. There’s something about those sounds all happening without electric input and the sound of a motor buzzing that feels like magic to me.

Sadly both machines are waiting patiently for me to get them ship shape again and start making things. I have projects just waiting to happen (and one to be finished that I started when I was first pregnant with the little dark star). Right now life with an extremely inquisitive “help you mummy!” toddler doesn’t allow for me and my machines to spend any time together.

I guess I should tell you about the other kind of ‘sew’ from the blog title and that is sewing in ends *groan*

Wouldn’t it be great if they all just magically popped in nice and securely by themselves? Sadly not though. I tell myself project after project SEW THEM IN AS YOU GO. Do I though? only very very rarely.

Here’s a work in progress I started some months ago but had to stop for a while to make a whole load of bear ear hats.

Hexagon Granny Blanket

Just a few ends there, not too bad eh?

Till you turn it over….

So many ends!!!

So many ends!!!

Why do I do this to myself?

I am really meticulous about sewing in ends they have to be just so, I cannot stomach the thought they will all start working free like oiled spaghetti and my hard work will fall apart before my very eyes. I don’t trust knots on their own as I’ve noticed that a lot of yarns start unknotting even as you are still working and in some projects knots seem to stop the work from moving naturally because there is a bump buried in there. I’m taking a belt and braces approach with this blanket, there are knots (naughty!) and I am also going to weave all the ends in really thoroughly. It’s a lot of ends so I am not taking any chances!

If you like this granny hexagon blanket you can find a brilliant tutorial at Petals to Picots

That was quite a long post. I hope you made it all the way to the end? Back to the hexagons for me whilst the little dark star is napping.


4 thoughts on “Sew and sew.

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